And you thought 2016 was bad…
Unless you were living under a rock or got engaged, I’m sure you concluded that 2017 was rough AF.
Between “Cash me Outside” becoming an actual thing, political hysteria with our new President tweeting his way to war with everyone, mass shootings & terror attacks, deadly natural disasters, shocking celebrity deaths, racial tensions, police violence, United Airlines beating up passengers, and countless sexual misconduct charges – you could say 2017 was a year that will never be forgotten…devastatingly enough.
I feel like the Mayans were right, maybe the world really did end in 2012. I mean, has any year since then actually felt real? Just sayin…
Anyway, for me, it was no different. 2017 broke me.
They say in any given year, an American dies by suicide every 12 minutes. This means that roughly 43,000 souls die by suicide every year. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States – and 90% of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death*. Which means, they could’ve been saved.
Depression, by definition, is: ‘a mental condition characterized by feelings of severe despondency and dejection, typically also with feelings of inadequacy and guilt, often accompanied by a lack of energy and disturbance of appetite and sleep.” It is the helpless, isolated feeling of believing you are never going to amount to anything. The overwhelming feeling of guilt from your past combined with a lack of motivation to do anything for the future seizes control of you.
I was always a happy person, doing my best at laughing and entertaining anyone I could with annoying Dad jokes. I never thought I would reach a point of overwhelming sadness and defeat.
Depression for me, as I’m sure it is for most, was very consuming, disheartening and dark. It didn’t become real to me that I was depressed until everyone in my life was gone. I had depended on everyone else to hold me up, and I allowed those people to determine my happiness for me.
You don’t fully understand what rock bottom is until you’re sitting on the floor of your empty, lifeless room, deciding if it’s worth it to even be alive anymore. There’s a certain emptiness we all must feel in which inspires us to do better in this world. I’m sad to say I found that emptiness… but am lucky enough now to understand that I’m better than that depressed, lost version of myself.
I believe we do not fully understand who we are until we become someone we are not. I had become the person who I never wanted to be, but decided it was time to become the person I was born to be.
So, what did the fish say when he ran into a wall? Damn. And Damn is right; I ran straight into that wall.
If you’re here reading this, however, I have some good news for you… I climbed over that ‘damn’ metaphorical wall and peace was waiting on the other side. Though I do not wish it upon anyone, we all must feel some sort of pain in our lives before we experience a breakthrough into finding peace and purpose for being here.
I am no different. I too was in a dark place and I allowed that darkness to cloud my life for many years. I didn’t start living until I made a decision for myself to no longer allow that darkness to hinder me from becoming the person I always dreamed of becoming. You too can climb out of whatever hole you’ve found yourself in, if you believe in yourself enough to do it.
If you’re ready to Make America Not 2017 Again, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are 7 Tips help you change your ways and crush 2018.
The first step in changing yourself is understanding there are things that need to be changed. When I experienced my rock bottom, I had to tell myself I was ready to alter the course, change my habits and begin living the life I always wanted.
If you want to drastically change your life, you have to make drastic changes in your life. That means acknowledgment of wrong-doing, planning the new course, implementing that new plan, and giving gratitude for what you do have in life.
The next step in changing is to cut the dead weight, remove the self-doubt, and weave out the wrong people in your life.
I believe the old saying goes, “You spend too much time worrying what other people think of you…A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinion of a sheep.”
Though I absolutely DO NOT believe we should ever view the world as if we’re better than anyone else – what you should take from this is that you could no longer allow the opinions of others to alter the pursuit of your dreams.
Basically, Learn the Power of “No.”
When my Rock Bottom came, I decided it was time to develop a plan for how on Earth I was going to change and achieve my goals. Being goal-oriented was not my strong suit, by any means, because I lacked the fundamental ability to take action, plan, and then execute those plans.
If procrastination and being unorganized had a son, it was me (no offense Mom and Dad, it surely wasn’t your doing).
So, I started small.
I wrote out some immediate goals and life goals for what I wanted and why I wanted them. I provide a step by step breakdown of proper goal setting in my book, but for now, here’s an example:
Say you want to make $100,000 in 2018. Instead of looking at it on a grand scale, break it down by the day so it becomes more manageable. $100,000 / 365 days in a year = $273.97.
So, you would need to make roughly $275 a day to make $100,000 next year.
If you want to change, you have to start doing things that you’ve never done. Now that I wasn’t drinking, I had to find ways to occupy myself. Not only that, I needed to do new things so I could break my old habits.
I started playing basketball, Frisbee golf, fishing, went on hikes, visited museums, and even tried yoga. I’m not kidding. My fat, lazy, inflexible-self turned off Netflix, got off the couch, and went to yoga.
Whatever activity I decided to do, I made it something different than anything I had ever done before. This was the time in my life where I got to try new things and develop new passions, and it didn’t matter how old I was either. I think we can all learn to do new things and develop new passions whether we’re 5 or 105, (though I do not recommend climbing Everest if you’re 105).
If you want to change, you need to find ways to help people. Up to this point, I was so consumed with bettering my own life and finding success that I had almost forgotten the central reason as to why we are all here.
We are all called to serve. I don’t care what God you believe in or if you believe in a higher being or not – we all will not find fulfillment until we have made some difference in this world.
We all need to feel useful as if our time spent here mattered. Even if you think your job and life’s work has nothing to do with serving people, I guarantee it does. If we didn’t have garbage men, our trash would pile up in front of the door and we would never be able to escape the stench. So, if you’re a garbage man, GOD BLESS YOU.
Everything we do serves a higher purpose, and that’s the way you need to view the world.
No, I’m not talking about going in your backyard and hacking down a tree – only to have it come timbering down on your house creating more problems in your life.
What I mean is wake up every single day with an ax, ready to go to work. To make it in this world, you have to be willing to work harder than everyone else and prepare for the unexpected. If you plan, focus all your energy on the right things, and then wake up in the morning ready to chop wood, you will find success.
Change can happen instantaneously or over time, but we must always remember to hold our head up and keep moving forward. A turtle may move slowly, but that is why it has the toughest shell. If we’re strong enough to ask the Universe for the right things, follow the foundation you’ve laid out, and wake up every day ready to chop wood – you’ll find success.
As the man himself Mahatma Gandhi put it, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” So, Cash Me Outside… How Bout Dat.